Taking care of your gums and teeth is mandatory at all stages of your life. In the case of seniors, dental care becomes an integral part of keeping healthy.
Proof of this is how currently, more and more elderly adults keep their natural teeth until later in their lives, thanks to a better understanding of dental care habits.
Aging affects your health in every aspect, and teeth are no exception. That’s why, as time passes, you must make some changes in your dental care routines.
Due to natural wear, your gums might recede, and your teeth become prone to decay.
This can happen even without preexisting dental issues.
Being aware of this reality and practising proper dental care habits is the most effective way to prevent these and other complications.
Dental Care for Seniors: Common Problems and Tips
Little known fact: your dental health has repercussions, not only for your gums and teeth. Poor dental care might affect your general well-being and overall health.
For example, recent studies conclude that gum disease might play a role in other health complications, such as:
- Lung disorders
- Heart strokes
- Coronary artery disease
Also, with age, your immune system tends to weaken progressively. Because of this, consciously approaching your dental care becomes increasingly important as you age.
Having said this, here we have the top 5 dental care tips for seniors. Follow these recommendations, and you’ll keep your mouth (and body) healthy, even in your old age.
Brushing and flossing
You may have been taking proper care of your teeth for your entire life, in which case you’re already familiar with all the basic dental care concepts.
But even then, after turning 50, plaque builds up faster, so it’s harder to get rid of. Also, cleaning your gums/teeth need a gentler approach due to normal wear and tear.
You might need to make some adjustments. Try switching to a soft-bristled, electric toothbrush. This will allow you to clean all those hard-to-reach places better.
Plus, electric toothbrushes are easier to hold. This might be a godsend for seniors suffering from joint pain or arthritis.
Another good recommendation is to floss after every meal using a hand-held flosser. This makes it easier to maneuver gently around each tooth, thus avoiding damaging your gums.
Be careful with mouthwash.
If you rinse your mouth with mouthwash, you will need to adjust. This is because mouthwash can unbalance your mouth’s pH, thus producing a dry mouth.
To counter this, seniors should limit rinsing their mouths to once a day. Preferably before bed and using an alcohol-free mouthwash.
Consider getting implants instead of dentures.
When facing tooth loss, people assume dentures are the go-to option. However, dental implants help stabilise the jawbone, thus preventing problems with your jaw joint.
Nonetheless, if you already have dentures, it’s mandatory to give them proper maintenance. Clean them thoroughly with specific products. Also, keep them out of your mouth while you’re sleeping.
Be aware of medication side effects.
We mentioned dry mouth before but did you know that sometimes medication contributes to developing it?. Dry mouth favours plaque buildup, which leads to gum disease/tooth decay.
Suppose you notice any unwanted changes in your mouth, gums, or teeth after starting a new medication. Immediately consult your dentist.
Good oral health helps improve diabetes.
Diabetic patients are more likely to suffer from gum disease. Furthermore, the treatment of gum disease helps reduce their blood sugar levels.
It is a well-known fact that most seniors (65years up) have lost tooth pieces due to tooth decay and gum disease. But, why be a part of the statistics?
It’s never too late to talk with your dentist and learn how you can better take care of your teeth. So you can keep them healthy and strong as you age.